PSR Blues The consultation draft passenger service requirement for Regional Railways North East is like the curate's egg - good in parts. The good news is that most existing services appear to be safeguarded. The bad news is some are not, coupled with an almost complete lack of "connectional requirements". In our response to OPRAF we have stressed that the final PSR should cover all existing services (including those provided by South and West Yorkshire PTEs) and that on some routes, like Knottingley-Goole and Doncaster-Selby, the PSR should be extended to include a minimum of five trains (in each direction). We have also called for more vigorous safeguards to maintain and, indeed, improve connections.
Civic Welcome The branch notched up a first at its September meeting which was opened by the Deputy Mayor of Selby district council, Councillor Winnie May. She expressed concern at the reduction in services to Doncaster and late evening trains from Leeds and thanked RDS for its efforts on behalf of rail users. Still on a civic theme, congratulations to member Councillor Peter Fox on his election to the South Yorkshire PTA.
Battling On The Halifax and District Rail Action Group is maintaining pressure to get the Halifax-Huddersfield link, which should have been up and running two years ago, off the ground. The 1997 Rail Reopenings Conference should help concentrate minds as it will be held in Halifax on 28 June.
Second thoughts InterCity East Coast managed to rustle up a 125 train for the Sunday afternoon Hull-King's Cross service, thus avoiding use of coaches for the first part of the journey to Doncaster. East Coast has no immediate plans to reduce the number of its restaurant cars while, as a test case, it has re-introduced a proper bacon sandwich! A restructured timetable is scheduled for May 1998.
The march of time InterCity East Coast's additional Bradford trains prompt the thought that in 1938 the 10.25 Bradford Forster Square-Paignton did the first lap of the journey to Leeds, with a stop at Shipley, in 22 minutes.
Now, some 58 years on, the 07.05 Bradford-King's Cross requires 25 minutes. East Coast hopes to match the 1938 time from June 1997, although it tells the Aire Valley Rail Users Group that it is "constrained by our contractual position with Railtrack who are required to allocate paths on an equitable basis, and additional pathing time may be inserted into trains." Time marches on . . .
Rewriting history? The 1995/6 RUCC for NE England's annual report concludes with a homily regarding "victories" achieved for rail users. "Victory," say the RUCC, "is usually won on the field of battle at the expense of the vanquished foe," but this one was "the result of cooperation, good will, and much hard work on the part of those involved. There are no losers." The report continues: "1996 marks the tenth anniversary of the launch of the successful campaign to save the Settle-Carlisle line from closure. Reprieved in April 1989, the line has since been aggressively marketed." As I recall, the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle was formed in the summer of 1981. The battle it, RDS, local authorities and others subsequently fought against BR was long and hard. Had it not been won, the co-operation, good will and hard work of the RUCC and the Leeds-Settle-Carlisle Liaison Group would have come to nothing as there would have been no line left to be "aggressively marketed".
Last Word "I apologise that you received your Guide slightly later than expected. This was due to our printers receiving the times of connecting services later than normal from Railtrack," confided Andrew Q Harvey, InterCity marketing director. In other words, just another case of "operating difficulties"!
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